The Container Store: How The Container Store Won Back-to-School with Mobile Wallet


Campaign Summary

The back-to-school season is a pivotal time for The Container Store — the nation's leading specialty retailer of storage and organization products and custom closets. To stay ahead of the competition in this space, the company focused on amplifying its digital-first strategy and updating its loyalty program to target college-aged students and their parents. It decided to create an app to attract and retain more of these customers through push messaging and mobile wallet.



The team at Container Store wanted to enable mobile messaging to ensure that the app and promotional offers would be used by customers during the three-month campaign. Specifically, it looked to guarantee that the new app would be a channel for purchases and communication. In addition, the Container Store hoped to attract and retain omnichannel shoppers, with its message following users from the device to the channel to in-store purchases.

Overall, The Container Store wanted to elevate the mobile experience for college-aged students by expanding mobile channels and also wanted to increase mobile-attributed revenue for its program.

Target Audience:

The Container Store's intended target audience was focused on college students and their parents during the back-to-school season. The store offers products that many people need when moving away from home for the first time, such as laundry hampers, desk essentials, and kitchen utensils. In terms of marketing, The Container Store targeted primarily parents shopping for their kids and older college students.

Creative Strategy:

In summer of 2021, The Container Store began its partnership with Vibes, a mobile marketing technology leader powering seamless mobile messaging and brand experiences across the consumer journey. Instead of sending out generalized mass messages, The Container Store, with Vibes' help, could tailor messages to be relevant to its college audience. With Vibes, The Container Store put together a strategy to send relevant offers to the right people at the right time through SMS and MMS. Significantly, SMS made it easy for customers to download The Container Store's app and sign up to join its loyalty program.

For its 2022 college-focused campaign, The Container Store continued to use SMS and MMS, and activated additional mobile channels through the Vibes platform, which leveraged mobile app push notifications and mobile wallet.

Mobile wallet is a persistent, contactless engagement channel that makes digital offers easy to save and redeem directly from a mobile device. It's also key for sending personalized lock screen notifications to customers in a relevant and timely manner.

Vibes provided a native mobile wallet solution that enabled customers to house their coupons, loyalty membership cards, gift cards, and other items in a single location — in a person's mobile wallet on their phone, where they could easily be found and used.

The Container Store also sent highly personalized push notifications across all platform channels.


Starting with the 2021 back-to-school season, this now two-year effort has achieved significant results, especially during the 2022 season when it accounted for enrolling more than 94,000 subscribers in just two months, a 30 percent increase over 2021. For the 2022 college season, The Container Store decided to incorporate mobile wallet and push notifications to attract and retain more customers, increase promotions' conversions, and drive app downloads.


Overall Campaign Execution:

Vibes' mobile messaging platform was able to help The Container Store connect and activate its consumer experiences. Specifically, mobile messaging helped The Container Store target back-to-school shoppers, starting in mid-July with relevant, timely messages and promotions.

The Container Store also ensured that college and back-to-school customers who utilized a specific offer had to first sign up for its SMS list to use the deal. Once customers have opted into the SMS list, they were immediately sent their college mobile wallet offer and, from there, received college-specific messaging to keep them shopping at The Container Store.

Mobile Execution:

Mobile was incorporated into the overall marketing strategy in order for The Container Store to engage customers in real-time through SMS, MMS, in-app push notifications, and mobile wallet.

With 54.4 percent of consumers saying they delete at least half of brand marketing emails they receive without opening them, The Container Store knew that to engage shoppers — especially college-aged students and parents of college-aged students — it needed to incorporate a marketing strategy centered around the mobile device. With Vibes, The Container Store was able to target specific markets and demographics, which resulted in increased revenue because it made the marketing tactics more click-worthy and relevant to the audience. Moreover, with deeplinking, The Container Store guided users who signed up for mobile messaging with links that connected directly to the app. Customers could read and engage with messages consistently, instead of receiving a generalized ad that got lost in email.

The Container Store also noticed higher-spending customers were more willing to engage in mobile messaging. So, it decided to prioritize Experts, their highest tier in the loyalty program, by sending more time-sensitive offers and targeting them more precisely. The Container Store was able to offer different types of offers, such as birthday offers, sign-up offers, and offers that were targeted based on shopping behaviors.

Business Impact (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

The Container Store achieved its goal of elevating the shopping experience for its target audience of college-aged students in 2022. The retailer did this by expanding the mobile channels used in its marketing strategy, leveraging mobile wallet and in-app push notifications.

Overall, The Container Store boosted engagement, seeing click-through rates as high as 25 percent, compared to its benchmark SMS click-through rate of 7 percent.

Importantly, the number of mobile subscribers expanded as a result of these efforts, which was a good indicator that mobile tactics worked. Additionally, The Container Store has seen more in-person redemption and engagement through the mobile subscriber base, especially during the back-to-school season.

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Social Messaging/Chat Apps/Text Messaging | Awards: NA Finalist